June 06, 2008 01:11:00am
Re: Can anyone pick favorite grateful dead show ever!
Yes I can name it .
With a bit of perspective on several contenders, the particular show is a mix of several from the same Summer.
The criteria being:
1. irony... the tendency is to love or laud the shows we went to the most....
though not always... I mean, what will the fans of the 22nd century like the best?
2. Availability is not a must. The best shows I never saw were never taped! Or who can say. There are music videos that cost more to produce than all the spare change panhandled since 1952 on Haight St.
3. Live concerts on certain levels are very ethereal, and memory is a muscle. The satisfied mind tends to be very lazy, difficult to make working on adding additional criss crosses to the archive expanding the big picture slow without the help of certain plants such as Green Tea. Almost like meditating, focusing finding a speck that you might relate to as a student of Shermlock Holmes... clues are very dry and the subject is awfully wet... and so is the tolerance of the modern day forum.
4. May the shining orb of Vishanti continue to frisk indelible downloads of the akashic records... a tiny inkling and a pin drop so small yet so precious, that so much from the golden road is already forgotten.
5. Yet the answer to every question must have an origin... otherwise, why ask it? I will answer from my mind's eye, and may the ancient one guide me to your door, and may I please say what I will say and then the floor is yours.
I knew I was on a magic carpet ride, when as an attendee, without judgement, my ears open, I heard a Garcia lead jam solo in 1970 at the same venue as good as the Feb 14, 1968 Alligator jam solo.
This time, you had to be there. Because, of the one bright gem played that night, a fast 5 stars, and one they did tape, my favorite part of the show - the incredible best ever jam solo on Alligator... is missing!
So, again, very subjective. Still, can I be the only one who remembers?
I'm referring to various mid 1970 Fillmore West-Carousel Ballroom shows that I've never seen anything like since, let alone before.
I wasn't even stoned on substances -just youthful exhuberance at the time.
It wasn't a tie-die super freak scene but the crowd was a group, as one.., and the band really got into it too... there was a bit of audience/band banter.
I recall Bob Weir stopped everything and said something to a dude with a happy face & walrus mustache...(the lights were halfway on... they did tricks with the lighting at the Carousel, It wasn't always dark-dark)...
"You're always requesting 'Golden Road'... we don't know how that goes anymore..."
Partys in the crowd chuckled.
I didn't know at the time what song the request was for, and later guessed wrong that it was either for "So We Leave The Castle" or, "Whatever Became Of The Baby"... because of Bob's snide reply... sompin' like "sure thing, next set!"
How do you confirm these things when there are inevitable gaps in the nights taped without going crazy? The Archive does help immensely relive those little moments we thought lost to the calling winds and here we can open those windows of our minds.... thank you Masked Man!
But the show that imho was the MOST MAGIK show of the Summer 1970 Carousel season that year, may be this contender... Why?
well, there was of course the usual extra dollop of clapping at the start of St. Stephen... but no catcalls, we were all one... but...
it was the night of the dividing line! Yes...
Between half or so of the audience getting more into it than the laid back half which had been the bigger half, now intending to pitch tents in there for the duration or something... that summer of 1970 was a really good one... and now there was an teeny rebirth of really good vibes from everybody - like OK, let's do it... a surge of that... and the Dead were presiding with a mix of newness thgemselves... a newer, less wiped out crowd than say, Altamont's worse elements...
These nights were rich with the excitement... of the mix between the band's latest songs, on the AB album...with David Crosby almost invisible depending on where you stood, since he was kind of behind a speaker cabinet, not in the spotlight at all. I mostly saw his long curly telephone style cord lead wire...
anyway, the senior sitters with their blankets spread on the floor in the dark, they were all in unison, calling out "Sit DOWN!" because unlike any previous 1970 Thursday or Sunday night, the front liners were standing up earlier than usual... the band would walk out nonchalant one by one and start playing to an audience sitting comfortably on the floor, why get up?
They started the set on the night I recall, with MORNING DEW, and then whipping up a fast tempo number, that's when we standees got into shakin' it a bit, with our dates or whom we tried to vamp...
BLOCKING the sit-in section and then the rebuttal, between songs, all of a sudden, was, "Stand Up!" That went on for a little while, I could see Phil Lesh, Jerry, especially Bobby doing the double take on this development, like, oh, this is oddly interesting, what are they trying to do?
I was just half-standing, quasimodo...not sure what I wanted to do, but not intimidated, it wasn't serious, just a slightly weird seperate scene with no substance, that went on for 5 minutes, the band just waiting for them to decide, I guess.
And then Bobbby broke the spell... by doing a TV news anchor voice with his amused drawl, "Stand on your heads!" the final solution... and everyone cracked up. Suddenly anyone could do anything they wanted, permission granted...
strangers eyeing strangers, meeting new people, it all happened that night, we just went with it like we had no fear of each other in a medium sized ballroom.
By the end of the night with PigPen,turning on the lovelight, some of us started dancing the snake, making the conga line through the crowd, and it was pure magic, really a blissed out crowd, that night anyway, we were all smiling, on a secret stone.
The local fire chief or chief of police came in, looked at what was going on in there, an inspection brought on by the intense pleasure being radiated, this couldn't be legal, but hardly a joint was lit, and no cigs... just a lot of rosewater and patchulie, retch...
We laughed at their uniformality and seriousness... a moment in eternity, we couldn't be razzled, everything seemed to be lasting much longer... we all knew it, there was a time warp, maybe it was the moon or something, everything just right, and the band knew it, they'd seen these kind of nights before, but we were new kids, not veterans.
They were looking around at the half-lit audience, trying without trying not to make us self conscious, and everyone was reading everyone's mind, laffing before the punch lines.
I don't know, it was like a new level but subsequent shows that I went to over the next 2 decades, while always a mix of interesting faces, none ever got quite like that again.
I took my girlfriend to her first show later that same Summer, the highpoint was when we were near the stage inbetween numbers when she just blurted out,
"Oh, they're Good Old Boys!"
I swear one or two of the GD heard her and it made 'em smile... because that's exactly what they were or wanted to be... Lucy was steeped in that Bakersfield, Oklahoma dust bowl music as much as the band.
I smiled the whole night after that...again, we weren't stoned on anything - just the music and the moment...
oh well, that was really sweet... gee.
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